By Zentara Shadowsoul.
I showed the note to Grunthrin and Isolda at breakfast. The Targ harrumphed and swore. “Typical Shay. Mysterious and secretive – why didn’t he just come and talk to us, rather than leave a note. And where is this Tower of Knowledge? Why not tell us, eh?”
“Agreed. Annoying. Shows he cares though and isn’t a threat. I had wondered,” Isolda remarked.
“You and me both,” I replied.
We sat in a small private dining room as we ate the freshly baked bread, eggs, ham and fried potatoes. Isolda poured the tea, sipping it slowly as she read the note once more. “Beautiful,” I heard her mutter and grinned. Grunthrin glanced across at her, frowning, then prodded me to reveal more details of everything that had happened, and Isolda asked me more about Ferantu and Yasmina. It was my grandmother, after some thought, who asked if I believed the priestess had used some sort of power over me as the note implied. I nodded, aware that Isolda had once been the victim of Anshiana-kuftir and thus knew how such spells could work, and told her my conclusions. That I was certain that Yasmina had held sway over me, and that I had wondered if the Ancient Beings were behind it all. Before seeing the note, that is. Now, I felt that Ferantu was telling the truth. And that perhaps not all Ancients were the same.
Grunthrin admitted he’d also been thinking along those lines. “Although I still doubt Ferantu’s intentions – he let you walk into harm, with no warning. You’re right to be wary of him. He seems so under the sway of this Life-Giver, so dependent upon her, that he probably has no choice. As for Yasmina, she is indeed a threat. That she almost succeeded in making you enter the Pathway without any thought for your safety is beyond doubt. A dangerous woman, indeed.”
Nodding agreement, my hand went to the Ekchuan pendant and I turned to Isolda. “Did I mention that your pendant tried to warn me?” I asked her. “Which begs another question – do the Zigandi have magic of their own?”
Isolda hesitated for a few seconds before she replied, “Yes, you did say. It was how I knew there was a problem. See,” she drew a matching pendant from beneath her top “they are aligned. Both pendants were made from the same lump of clay, shaped and fired at the same time. They are a pair, linked. If we have Shay origins, something I was partly aware of, I suspect that it’s their magic, passed down through generations. But it’s something that no one outside of the clan Elders and clan Chief is permitted to know. That includes you, Grunthrin, and you, too Zentara.” I nodded, not surprised that the Elders knew things the rest of the Zigandi didn’t. Their Gatherings had always been shrouded in secrecy, hidden from view from the rest of us. It was one of the things that had always irked Carney. Now, of course, he too would learn those secrets and I wondered if he would uphold the traditions and how he’d use that knowledge. Isolda continued “Though in the circumstances I can’t see how I can not tell you. I assume I can trust you both not to say anything?”
We both nodded as Isolda slipped her pendant back beneath her blouse. Amongst us there was, and had to be, complete trust. What my grandmother had told us confirmed what Ferantu had taught me: that magic wasn’t limited to the Shay. The more I discovered, the more convinced I was that there was even more to this Power that as yet I’d not unearthed. Ferantu was right. I needed to find out more. And work out exactly what I could do to protect myself and my friends if the need arose.